Friday, December 2, 2011

Mirror, Mirror On The Wall....

Incredibly insightful image found here

Google Alerts pointed me to this story recently: Found here, and entitled How To Look And Feel Beautiful With Autoimmune Disease.

The gist of the message given by author Angelica Catalanico is this: that even if someone with autoimmune disease feels like crap, she can still look beautiful, and in turn her outward beauty will positively affect her mood and feelings.

Hm.

There are more than 80 types of autoimmune diseases, some of which may have genetic components. The environment can also make things worse by prolonging or exacerbating symptoms. For example, stress and infections can kick up symptoms by activating genes that trigger an autoimmune response. 
While some people experience chronic, debilitating symptoms, others have the occasional flareup. It's unpredictable, and it takes effort to maintain a strong sense of personal style and inner beauty. 
"You could feel fabulous today and horrible tomorrow," YouBeauty reader Jane says about RA. When a bad day strikes, she'll stay in bed. But most of the time, she puts her best face forward, even if she's swollen and in pain. "I make a point of looking my the best," she says. "I always feel better when I put on my red lipstick."
She also emphasizes the need for regular exercise and maintaining a positive attitude:
Conditions can flare up in response to emotional ups and downs. One component of an integrative medicine perspective is psychoneuroimmunology -- the study of the link between psychology, the nervous system and immunity, based on the idea that our bodies respond to the way we process information mentally and emotionally.
Both are excellent points.

But.

I kept looking to see one specific concept mentioned in this article and was concerned that it was absent. I wanted to see some statement that said basically this: that some days if you don't feel like putting on that red lipstick, or you don't care how you appear to the other mothers at the kids' preschool, or if you just can't muster up a mental truckload of rainbows and unicorns and fairy dust to lift your spirits - it's OK. However you can get through autoimmune disease day by day is OK. Some days autoimmune disease isn't beautiful, and that is OK. It's not my fault, and it's not your fault.

Personally, I just don't find relief in a tube of red lipstick. Never have. Never will. And I refuse to add another burden to my already loaded-down psyche: that if I don't put on that red lipstick or chant mantras for hours that I'm doing myself a disservice. That I'm letting myself down.

That I NEED to Look And Feel Beautiful With Autoimmune Disease. No, I don't.

I don't need one more ounce of guilt, thank you very much.

I'm already feeling guilty for.........doing whatever caused my disease in the first place. I feel guilty because I just can't do the things that I used to, like work and contribute financially to our family, or keep my house spotless, or cook great meals.

I'll agree that making an effort to look presentable could bolster my spirits, but it has to be on my terms. When I feel that I can spare the energy to do so, and when I think that it's important. I don't need yet another unrealistic expectation of me and my body thrust upon me by the media.

My body just is what it is. I'm not going to slap some mind-bending labels such as "beautiful" or "ugly" on it.

And that's OK.

10 comments:

SjogrensStyle said...

You make such fantastic, important points in this post.

I actually recently started a blog about looking good despite Sjogren's (my focus is on how to do so w/ the least amount of energy and the most comfort), but I now realize that I need to do a post about not pushing it--and definitely not feeling guilty when you can't. Do you mind if I quote/link to your post in mine? You say it so well here.

My blog is http://sjogrensstyle.blogspot.com/ if you want to check it out before giving me permission (if you decide to do so). Either way, thank you for what you have written here and throughout your blog.

Laura said...

I think what is most important is doing what you can do, that bolsters *your* spirits. Huge flawed assumption: looking beautiful (her type of beautiful, at that!) bolsters every woman's spirits.

I don't have Sjogren's, and most days I never put on a bit of makeup. I don't like how it feels on my skin or how artificial it looks to me. So I'm pretty sure that if I had Sjogren's and took her advice, spending energy to feel like I looked more fake than normal would not be useful advice, even if it works fine for her. :P

annie said...

When you feel horrible, you look horrible, and that "red lipstick" will not help, it will only look garish on a pasty skin. If I want to feel better, I rest or put on some relaxing music, anything to soothe me. Who wears makeup around the house, anyway? And I agree with every point you've made....well said.

Julia said...

SjogrenssStyle: Sure! Link away. And thanks for your comments.

Amy Junod said...

I saw this article also.
My first thought was a let down sort of, "Really?"
Then it was more of an angry sort of, "Really?!"
See...this is why I love your blog. It's so honest and affirming.
Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Amen, Sista! Well said

Jazzcat said...

When I'm in a good mod, I like to take 5 extra minutes to be even more pretty, but when I can't, I just can't, that's all.
I try to have confortable, but still beautifull clothes, but I do have an horrible pants, but it's sooo soft and warm and... This one is for very bad day, and it's OK with me. I'm ill, I hae the right to feel ill sometimes, even if I'm fighting it the best I can !
Your post Julia make me think about a song which title is: "You were right+it's OK" from Ethan Lipton.

SjogrensStyle said...

Thank you, Julia!






http://sjogrensstyle.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

Julia:
I read your blog every time you post (it's linked to my email so I never miss one). I really like reading it because, as a fellow sjoggie, it helps to hear perspectives of other people struggling with the same set of issues that I do. A few posts back you wondered if you should cut back on the silly stuff since it seems medical professionals are also reading after you. I say keep the silly because it helps portray sjoggies as whole people. It gives us balance in our view of our own struggles.

About the post on which I am commenting, I think you might have been a little hard on the lipstick-wearing auto-immune sufferer. I suppose there are as many ways to cope with a given illness as there are people dealing with it. If lipstick helps her, great! If it helps someone else who reads her article get up and do more than they thought they could before, that's even better! If it doesn't help you, that's fine too. I often "paint on a face" and drag myself to work when I could have (and maybe should have) called in sick. By wearing makeup, I can avoid answering lots of, "Are you feeling okay?" inquiries. I don't need to be reminded by well meaning coworkers that I'm sick...I am all too aware. I have no choice but to go to work, so I might as well put my best face forward while doing it.

Love your blog. Keep up the encouragement for us all.

Anonymous said...

Julia:
I read your blog every time you post (it's linked to my email so I never miss one). I really like reading it because, as a fellow sjoggie, it helps to hear perspectives of other people struggling with the same set of issues that I do. A few posts back you wondered if you should cut back on the silly stuff since it seems medical professionals are also reading after you. I say keep the silly because it helps portray sjoggies as whole people. It gives us balance in our view of our own struggles.

About the post on which I am commenting, I think you might have been a little hard on the lipstick-wearing auto-immune sufferer. I suppose there are as many ways to cope with a given illness as there are people dealing with it. If lipstick helps her, great! If it helps someone else who reads her article get up and do more than they thought they could before, that's even better! If it doesn't help you, that's fine too. I often "paint on a face" and drag myself to work when I could have (and maybe should have) called in sick. By wearing makeup, I can avoid answering lots of, "Are you feeling okay?" inquiries. I don't need to be reminded by well meaning coworkers that I'm sick...I am all too aware. I have no choice but to go to work, so I might as well put my best face forward while doing it.

Love your blog. Keep up the encouragement for us all.

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